Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino
Partido ng Manggagawa
26 October 2009
Residents residing at Barangays Malaban and San Antonio in Biñan Laguna will hold a rally this morning at this town’s Municipal Hall to seek aid from both the local and national government. The two barangays are just part of several barangays that are still under water since the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy that drove lake waters of Laguna De Bay to rise.
The local of Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) in Biñan said food and health conditions in the area are very bad because of lack of safe drinking water and lack of other basic supplies, among others. They also fear of forced relocation being planned by the national government without any assurance that such a plan would lead them to a better habitat.
AMP leaders Mercy Manzo and Elizabeth Mendoza describe their situation in the area as “helpless and miserable” as relief goods are still lacking in most parts of the area and many people have no more means of earning an income unlike before. Many people especially children are also getting sick because of lack of sanitation and safe drinking water.
“We don’t know how we can survive this kind of situation,” Manzo said, adding that without continuing relief operations and alternative places to live, the people around the lake face humanitarian crisis.
The group is asking the local government to formulate a short and long-term solution to this problem, including alternative places where affected residents can live safely. They are also asking for livelihood assistance to recover their means of livelihood that were devastated by Ondoy.
The AMP is also calling on the national government to give due attention to the poor people of Biñan and Laguna rather than blaming them for making themselves the victims of their own desperate situation. The government, specifically the Laguna Lake Development Authority had been blaming the poor settlers for clogging the natural waterways that aggravates flooding.
“There are bigger players to blame such as industry owners, mining companies and land developers who destroy our natural habitats. Why point all your fingers to us?,” complained the AMP leaders.
After the protest action in Laguna, the AMP and the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) will bring their issues to Malacanang in another rally to be held in Mendiola on Thursday, October 29.
The AMP and PM will demand a moratorium on debt payments and massive government funds saved from debt service be allotted for rehabilitation and reconstruction program. “Rehabilitation and reconstruction are dead words without the funds,” stressed the group.
The groups will also press for a new housing program that decisively addresses housing problems -- the main reason why poor settlers are forced to live and face their deaths in “danger zones”. Another demand is for a new, centralized and coordinated land use policy to prevent land developers and miners convert and destroy lands so that the poor can be accorded habitable and sustainable places to live.